Erin Otten seizes the day

Kylie R. '20

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“Carpe Diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary,” Mr. Keating, played by Robin Williams, announced to his class in the iconic movie “Dead Poets Society.” English teacher Erin Otten projects this film to her CP English 10 class and utilizes its message by emphasizing the importance of embracing risks and spreading that belief to the world.

“I don’t think I was made to do anything else. I think I was very much born to be a teacher,” Otten said.

When she was younger, Otten never considered choosing a career in education. In elementary school, she wanted to be a marine biologist, then in middle school, an interior designer, and finally, when it was time to say farewell to childish fantasies, she was dead-set on becoming a journalist after high school.

After graduating from Liberty High School, Otten was admitted into The Ohio State University. In her first year, she declared a journalism major and, instead of putting on the freshman 15, began to write on their newspaper staff. This was a privilege most get as a junior, and she passionately wrote as a freelance reporter on sports writing. But, as fate would have it, Otten ended up hating it because she didn’t feel like it fit her personality.

“I was kind of lost for a second. I did realize I loved English, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do education,” Otten said.

After deciding to take the risk, Otten pursued her dream in education and earned two bachelor degrees. She then student taught at inner-city Columbus where kids from cinderblock neighborhoods only saw a world of violence and crime ahead of them. Otten knew a majority of those students would end up on that dark path, like the innumerous generations before them, but she tried to her best abilities to steer those who showed a glimmer of hope into the right direction. After three years, Otten moved to Olentangy High School where she has (and will continue to) influence the young minds of adolescents in AP Language and CP English 10 for three years.

But, obviously, there is more to Otten than just her career as a teacher. Her family, consisting of a brother named Billy, her mother and adoptive stepfather and now her fiance Chris, is her backbone. Growing up, her mom raised two children while working as a waitress and earning her degree in education, demonstrating the love a mother has for her children and the sacrifices made for one’s family. When her mother married her stepfather, Otten was thrusted into the world of sports after she relentlessly threw questions at him while they stretched out on the couch and watched football. This unbreakable bond that formed between the two would soon birth the die-hard sports fan she is today. Otten coaches field hockey at OHS since finding passion in the sport in high school, and reflects her athletic abilities in running, having already breezed through two marathons (and no that’s not Netflix).

Buckeye football, wedding planning and motivating her students fill Otten’s days, and she has bright plans for the future.

“I can’t wait to get married. I can’t wait to have a kid and raise children. I can’t wait until to we get to buy our first house,” Otten said.

Although these milestones may not seem bucket list worthy to others, Otten can’t wait to mark them off of hers. But, she does have some adrenaline-rushing desires to fulfill like skydiving and traveling to Buenos Aires in South America. Otten loves to travel and hopes to visit the five other continents (excluding Antarctica) after already having trekked across Europe and seeing all of the major cities, from Barcelona to Dublin, London to Paris. As the uncharted and potential-rich years creep into Otten’s life, her proud and supportive family, rewarding career and boundless youth will always be there to hold her up.

Like Mr. Keating asks his class regarding how they will contribute to the development of their daring future, “That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”